Our blog posts are designed to keep our audience up-to-date on the latest information on the happenings at Mount Vernon and the printing industry overall. Check back often for updates and browse the different categories for new information.
Technology is continuing to shape the print industry, and it is important that WE continue to evolve as our clients’ challenges also become our own. 2017 was a year of mixed bag for our industry. There were some print manufacturing consolidations, while others in the business found success by focusing on expanding their IT service offerings.
Whatever the business strategy, one thing that rang true for all companies was stressing the importance of print technology and services that help clients combine online and offline marketing efforts.
So what’s in store for 2018? It’s clear that printers need to develop and expand their capabilities. What has worked in the past for years may not work in the future. Your print business model may need to change if it hasn’t already. At Mount Vernon, we have been preparing for this shift in business model with technology and a wide array of business communication services and data security practices.
Here are a few 2018 Trends that will impact the print industry:
Software Investments - Printers should learn from tech vendors. They differentiate themselves by offering innovations in software and also by their speed to market. In other words, don’t just focus on the hardware in the print shop. Software is poised to be one of the biggest differentiators for the print industry according to trend reports. It will also help printers address new challenges like cybersecurity and data privacy for customers (like being HIPPA compliant). Internally, updating your software can certainly improve your digital workflow (i.e. speed to market).
Big Data – This topic is nothing new for us printers, but the use of big data for predictive analytics is really going to escalate. Expect to see better application of predictive analytics with modeling and artificial intelligence and data mining.
Machine learning - This is a hot topic. Expect to see leaders invest more in machine learning to protect print devices. As more printers become more connected, the cyber threats become more real. We must protect equipment and customer data with updated technology (which ties into trend #1). Unsafe legacy equipment no longer does the job in 2018. With machine learning algorithms, threats can be detected and mitigated in real time. Keep your eyes open for cybersecurity services that will be coming out this year to fight those nasty attacks on your data.
My father owned and ran a print shop and now I have the opportunity to be part of one as well. My passion for this industry runs deep. I’m really excited to see the innovation coming down the pike for our industry as we continue to evolve with technology.
Photo by Markus Spiske courtesy of Unsplash.com
Not many companies can say that they have 150 years of experience in their industry when speaking about just five employees combined, but we can! For my last employee spotlight for the year, I’d like to recognize Eric Lineback who has been with us for 33 years. He works in our bindery department and is the lead on our saddle-stitching and folding equipment.
Eric plays an integral role at Mount Vernon – his focus is on delivering a great product to our customers. With his keen eye, Eric makes certain that a customer’s vision during the design process matches the end result. Believe it or not, that’s much easier said than done. Eric takes pride in ensuring that the artwork and images provided to us appear consistently and precisely across all pages of the project.
As with the other four stellar employees we’ve featured, Eric makes it a priority to adopt new technology and apply it to his work, which contributes to greater accuracy and faster lead times for Mount Vernon customers.
Over the last three decades, Eric has enjoyed the diversity of projects he has been involved with as well as the different types of equipment that he’s been able to use to help exceed customer expectations. His favorite memories involve the people he has met in the plant over the years.
In Eric's free time he enjoys fishing and spending time with his dogs.
Cheers to Eric, Pat, Frank, Paul, and Kelvin. I can’t imagine where Mount Vernon would be without their loyalty, dedication and focus.
On that note, I wish you the happiest of holidays. See you in the new year!
It’s been a great year here at Mount Vernon Printing. I’d like to wish everyone a very merry holiday season and happy new year as we head into 2018.
Before we all start to “check-out” for the season, I’d like to put the spotlight on another dedicated employee: Frank Fuller.
Frank is the lead pressman on our 8-color cold-set Didi web press and a second man on our 6-color press. His greatest satisfaction comes from problem solving. He loves seeing the unique projects that our customers design and ensuring the end result matches their vision.
Frank enjoys the details of getting the project set up, and he uses the latest technology to ensure all the mechanical specs are met, always keeping the quality of his work at the top of his mind.
With more than 28 years at Mount Vernon, Frank has many fond memories. One of his favorite memories is the day he started working here and began learning to use the press. He has also enjoyed learning new technology over the years.
Frank and his wife of 25 years, Lorrie, have raised two children together. They are now blessed with seven grandchildren! When not running the press, you’ll find Frank in his garden.
As a company, we couldn’t be more thankful to have the four dedicated employees that we have spotlighted the past month. Beginning in 2018, look out for a new employee spotlight each month.
Thank you Frank, and my sincerest gratitude to everyone who has contributed to our success!
I can’t stress enough that our success, and our longevity is all due to our customers and our incredible, dedicated and loyal employees. Mount Vernon is lucky to have such good quality people working under our roof.
So, what makes a good employee? It seems that most ideal employees share some common traits: action-oriented, intelligence, ambitious, autonomous, display leadership skills, good cultural fits. The five individuals that I am highlighting this month all possess these traits.
As we get ready to wrap up the rest of 2018, and our 100-year anniversary, I wanted to take the time to honor our next dedicated employee who is truly an expert when it comes to logistics. Meet Kelvin Proctor.
Kelvin is our Shipping Manager, and has been with Mount Vernon Printing for more than 30 years. He loves a challenge, especially when it comes to logistics. Kelvin takes pride in coming up with the most efficient way to help customers meet their deadlines.
He knows that customers can oftentimes spend months designing and planning their projects and he ensures that they are delivered on time and intact without any quality issues, which is what gives him his greatest job satisfaction.
Over three decades, Kelvin has enjoyed interacting and working with everyone at Mount Vernon. He has great memories of his time in the plant.
When he’s not working, Kelvin enjoys fishing and boating, and spending time with his children, Kelvin and Grace.
Thank you, Kelvin for all of your hard work helping customers meet deadlines and your commitment to Mount Vernon Printing!
With 100 years in business to commemorate, many dedicated employees and loyal customers, we’re going to continue celebrating our anniversary through the end of the year. Mount Vernon wouldn’t be what it is today without all of the great people who made it possible.
It’s fascinating to take a look into what life was like 100 years ago. Life is drastically different now then it was back then.
Take the printing press for example.
In the early 1900’s offset lithography was born. American printer Ira Washington Rubel discovered it by accident. He figured out that printing from the rubber impression roller instead of the stone plate of his lithographic press produced a sharper printed page. Before that, litho was used just on tin. Thanks to Ira, it could now be used on paper.
By 1912 offset printing had really taken off with 560 presses in operation in the U.S. About five years later, Mount Vernon Printing opened its doors in the greater Washington, D.C. area. Today, offset lithography is still one of the most common ways of creating printed materials.
This background leads me to introduce another stellar employee. I’d like to introduce Paul Hayward, one of our lead pressmen on our 6-color printing press.
Paul's greatest professional satisfaction comes when he’s running a project and a customer visits Mount Vernon to inspect the printing process. Interacting with the client, and demonstrating how he ensures the highest quality on every project gives Paul great satisfaction and pride. In fact, Paul has been focused on exceeding client expectations for 33 years!
Paul has real passion for his job: To be the best he can be, he’s stayed on top of the technology that has changed the print industry and that knowledge and passion shines through in his output when he creates print material with exceptional quality.
Over the last three decades, Paul’s favorite Mount Vernon memories are the people and the friendships formed with fellow employees.
Paul has been married to his wife Amy for 24 years. In his spare time, he enjoys fishing, and watching the Washington Redskins and the Nationals play ball.
We are truly grateful to have such dedicated employees. Keep your eyes open for more profiles to come as head into the holiday season and wrap up 2017.
From world wars to the first man in space to the advent of the internet, the world has seen a vast number of changes over the past 100 years.
This year Mount Vernon Print is celebrating a huge milestone: We are celebrating 100 years in business. Over the years, we have served thousands of customers. Our success – and our longevity – is all due to our customers and our incredible, dedicated and loyal employees. We simply wouldn’t be where we are today without YOU.
I’d like to focus on a few of the people who have contributed to our success throughout the years. There will be more employee profiles in the coming weeks.
I wanted to start with our employee who has the most seniority, Pat Dooley, a true Irishman. Pat has been with Mount Vernon for 30 years. He is also a former owner of Mount Vernon and is an integral part of our success. As a former owner, Pat has always understood what customers need and how to address them through the power of print. He is currently the most veteran sales person on Mount Vernon’s team.
Pat's gratification comes from transforming his customers’ projects from concept to reality. This is evident in the relationships that he has built over the past 30 years. Pat doesn’t consider his customers as simply transactions, but rather his friends. Pat now leads the sales department and enjoys teaching others about the print industry.
Pat cares deeply about his family, faith and the ability to help others. He also served our country in the Army with two tours of duty in Vietnam.
In his spare time, Pat enjoys trying to beat his wife, Karen, on the golf course. Off the course and outside of Mount Vernon, they have raised four children together. Pat and Karen are the proud grandparents of 11 grandkids.
Thank you Pat for all of your wonderful accomplishments and your commitment to Mount Vernon Printing!
Mount Vernon Print has been in business for 100 years (can you believe it?!) and we’re proud of the work we do, as well as the level of print expertise we have in our plant. Mount Vernon employs five “press masters” who have 150 years of service between them! Not many print plants can say that. We also owe a big thanks to our loyal customers who have supported us through the years through a challenging and always changing industry.
And speaking of 100 years, boy has a lot changed since then! Since most of you reading this blog weren’t around a century ago, here’s a little snapshot into what life was like.
Our president was Woodrow Wilson, who was known for winning the Nobel Peace Prize, among other great achievements. Back then, most politicians campaigned by train, making frequent stops and speeches in small towns. Direct mail wasn’t as popular as it is now, but it did exist. I found these 1916 campaign gems printed for the Wilson v. Hughes Presidential race.
Other interesting tidbits:
- Average Americans living in big cities commuted by walking or taking the trolley (or “dodging” them). The Brooklyn Grays baseball team was nicknamed the Brooklyn Trolley Dodgers in honor of the dedicated fans who had to avoid speeding trolley cars to see them play.
- Horses were the main mode of transportation for most people.
- Orchestras and quartets created the music of the day and most Americans spent Friday nights dancing to a piano for entertainment or listening to a phonograph.
- The typical American spent one-third of his income on food, which is twice today’s share.
- Lunch at the office provided a logistical challenge, as there was no such thing as a plastic bag to keep a sandwich fresh. Instead, sandwiches were kept moist by wrapping them in a dry towel, covered with a towel wrung out of hot water.
- The average American ate almost equivalent amounts of lard (11.5 pounds) and chicken (14 pounds) per year. Today we each eat more than 57 pounds of chicken annually!
- Over a 100 million people lived in the United States, and more than half were under 25 (That would now be a Millennial marketing gold mine.)
- Clothing took up about 13 percent of one’s income.
- The average dwelling housed more than four people, especially on a farm in rural areas.
Thankfully today, with the invention of the plastic bag, we can take fresh chicken sandwiches to work. Not to mention, watch a baseball game without having to dodge trolley cars! Campaigning has also become more strategic, and we have you covered with our extensive resources. Contact us to find out about our turnkey advocacy and political direct mail campaigns that can be easily delivered across the U.S – without having to jump on a train.
Please join me over the next few weeks, as I profile some really stellar employees at MVP.
Traditionally, Direct Mail has gotten a bad rap from the days of “spray and pray” where large amounts of advertising pieces were produced and sent out to many people in hopes of finding the right target. But, I’m happy to report that Direct Mail industry is finally catching up to digital by means of data analysis and targeted execution.
As email marketing rose in popularity with marketers, so did the amounts of data that could be collected. Today, a lot of decisions are analytics-driven, and this useful customer data is also being harnessed to refuel a direct mail revival putting it back into the marketing mix of many companies.
The more customer data you have, the better your direct marketing campaign results will be, used wisely of course. How you ask? Combing the targeting ability that email offers with the prospective power of advertising can provide two big advantages over other channels.
What I love about Direct Mail is that there is always some type of action required by the recipient. They must scan the piece to decide if they want to keep it, or throw it away. It might not seem like much, but there is a big advantage to “forcing” prospects to make a decision about what they have received. (This is where email succeeds and digital advertising falls flat). When was the last time you read a digital ad? I’ve been seeing a lot of articles lately regarding the lack of transparency when it comes to digital ads, which is really starting to tarnish the digital ad industry.
What most marketers like is the ability to tie analytics into acquisition. This is where email lacks, and the power to prospect just isn’t there. Direct Mail is able to harness real transactional data in order to optimize lists and identify a prospect.
But, don’t just take our word for it. The Data and Marketing Association reports that the response rate for direct mail is at 3.7%, as compared to email at .12%, and digital display ads at .02%. Now that is data that speaks for itself.
Make sure your company is harnessing data and using Direct Mail to its best ability to keep repeat customers and to get those prospects. Mount Vernon Printing would be happy to refuel your marketing mix with the help of Direct Mail.
Photo: Courtesy of launch-marketing.com
Marketers want to reach and motivate their customers quickly and effectively. Up until recently, this has been a challenge with digital ads. Not anymore, as digital ads can be targeted and engaging with the help of public IP addresses. It is a hot topic these days, with the latest eMarketer forecast estimating that programmatic ad buys will total over $32.56 billion heading in upwards of $78 billion by 2019.
At Mount Vernon, we love working on these types of campaigns because our cross target programmatic marketing solutions enable automated ad placement that works hand-in-hand with direct mail campaigns, providing customers with an omnichannel experience that companies need to stay competitive.
Imagine a scenario where you serve up an ad online, only to known recipients that you want to communicate with. You know when your customer engages with it and you can then follow up with a highly targeted direct mail piece within a specific window of time with a call to action. Talk about making an impact. To me, that’s personalization that’s effective but not creepy.
Here’s how it works: We link your physical mailing list or target list to online consumer public IP addresses, which result in more precise targeting. Unlike using cookies for placement, your online ads are served to real, known and eligible prospects and customers. Instead of using web statistics for display ads, which can often be inflated by non-human traffic and bring little return, you can use scoring models, customer files, and countless demographic keys that describe your best customers.
To be more specific, cross target programmatic marketing uses automated technology that can gather and analyze data and draw insights to improve your campaign. You can truly tailor your campaign to serve a very personalized brand message.
Give programmatic marketing a try if you haven’t already and you will be surprised at the difference in ROI and the increase in conversions. Want to learn more? Contact us and we’ll show you how our technology provides solutions that deliver impactful, relevant and personalized communications.
Photo: Courtesy of Berson Dean Stevens Inc.
Popular doesn’t always mean better. We all know that digital channels are popular, and in most cases less expensive than paper, but printed periodicals have actually seen a rise in the past few years. Direct mail has also been overtaking email when it comes to successful marketing tactics.
It’s true, there has been a decline in direct mail volumes over the years. But what that means is that anything that does land in your customer’s mailbox, or on their desk gets attention, especially if it is done well. Direct mail is proactive and tactile — almost insisting that the recipient do something with it. Email rarely ever makes me feel that way, but it does make me want to hit “delete” a lot.
Email’s role in marketing has been changing. Aside from the obvious oversaturation in our inboxes, hijacking by scammers and spammers has contributed to this shift. The 2017 DMA Email Benchmarking Report says that marketing emails are being read some of the time, but as consumers become more cautious, the actual click-through rate has been steadily declining since 2015, when it ranked at 1.8%. The click-through rate lowered even more in 2016 to 1.6%.
This is more proof that marketers should be thinking of an Integrated digital + print marketing strategy if they don’t already do so. There are really good correlations out there between consumers receiving physical mail that was produced with multiple areas of personalization and targeted messaging. This leads to a call to action or being influenced to buy online after receiving the direct mail piece.
Including direct mail in your mix, and having an omnichannel approach will help maximize your ROI from a marketing campaign. For example, a follow-up email can act as a reminder if it is timed right with another printed communication vehicle such as a catalog, or personalized content that your customer requested in the mail. ROI increases when you connect content and messaging that is tailored to your customer as an individual.
According to DM News, 90% of people ages 25-34 find direct mail reliable and 87% like receiving it in the mail. Read: Millennials like the tactile feel of mail. I can talk your ear off about direct mail and how it can help your business. Contact me to learn more.
Photo courtesy of www.thefrankagency.com